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Trump Doubles Down on Arming Teachers, Saying Decision Is Up to States

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President Donald Trump is doubling down on his support for the controversial idea of arming school teachers as a protective and preventive measure against school shootings, indicating that aspects of such a proposal could be “up to states.”

“Armed Educators (and trusted people who work within a school) love our students and will protect them,” Trump tweeted Saturday. “Very smart people. Must be firearms adept & have annual training. Should get yearly bonus. Shootings will not happen again – a big & very inexpensive deterrent. Up to States.”

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center February 23, 2018 in National Harbor, MD. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center February 23, 2018 in National Harbor, MD. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The White House did not immediately return a request for comment on Trump’s tweet.

When asked on Thursday about the cost of such a plan, White House principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah told reporters, “I think that if we find the policy solutions that make the most sense that we can get buy in for, we’ll figure out the rest of the pieces that you outlined.”

The President’s tweet came a day after a freewheeling, lengthy speech he delivered at the Conservative Political Action Conference outside of Washington, DC, in which he also suggested that teachers should be armed.

“Well-trained, gun-adept teachers and coaches” should carry firearms in schools, he told the crowd. “I mean, I don’t want to have a hundred guards with rifles standing all over the school. You do a concealed carry permit. This would be a major deterrent, because these people are inherently cowards.”

Trump’s comments come in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, last week, which killed 17 people and has again spurred a national debate about gun control. The President held a listening session earlier this week with victims and activists from several school shootings and has stated that he wants to end the sale of bump fire stocks, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire bullets at a rapid rate.

Trump also said this week that he is pushing comprehensive background checks to emphasize mental health.